Zucchini Mushroom Tacos ♥

Zucchini Mushroom Tacos, a quick vegetarian or vegan filling for Meatless Monday tacos. For Weight Watchers, PointsPlus 3. AVeggieVenture.com
graphic button small size size 10 Today's great recipe idea for Meatless Monday and other nutritious vegetarian suppers. The filling is slightly sweet, slightly hot, a big mess of zucchini, mushrooms, tomato and beans – a great base to easily adapt with what's on hand or just sounds good. With a vegan cheese, the tacos are not just vegan but "Vegan Done Real". With more vegetables and/or protein instead of beans, the filling meets the requirements of both paleo and Whole30 diets. For Weight Watchers? The filling is just three PointsPlus for a whole cup! You're gonna love this one, I promise!

~recipe & photo updated 2015~
~ republished for a little weekend cooking inspiration 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~

BACK IN 2007 Did I mention I love-love-love Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday? I do! This recipe is one more reason. It makes an excellent quick supper of tacos, infinitely variable, completely delicious. And then? The leftovers are just excellent for a simple lunch! Next time, I will go easy on the canned chipotle pepper and its adobo sauce. This turned out hotter than pleasant – not inedible-hot, not eye-watering hot, not mouth-burning hot, just hotter than pleasant. I added a can of hominy in an attempt to quell the heat, turns out, it was a great addition!

Kale Recipes ♥ Alphabet of Vegetables

Ready to fall for kale? This collection of seasonal Kale Recipes from A Veggie Venture can help, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, sandwiches to smoothies, simple to special. Many Weight Watchers, vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, whole30 recipes. | AVeggieVenture.com
Hello Vegetable Lovers: Over the next while, watch for some housekeeping with the Alphabet of Vegetables here on A Veggie Venture. The goal is to separate out our "most favorite" vegetables so their pages will load more quickly, handy for all but especially those of us who check for recipes on our phones. ~Alanna

PS Facebook & Pinterest users, if you love A Veggie Venture, be sure to "like" and "pin" this page! More and more, search engines and even real-live human beings rely on social media indicators to identify favorite sources of trusted information.

IN A RUSH? Prefer Another Vegetable?
Skip Straight to the Recipes or Switch to the A-Z of Vegetables.

Kale 101: THE BASICS
Pronounced (Duh) [kale]. The Season. The growing season for kale is "late winter" to "early spring". Thanks to the miracle of our global food distribution system, however, beautiful kale is easily found year-round in grocery stores. Other Names for Kale. Also called Scots cabbage and borecole. What's some times called Chinese kale isn't kale but Chinese broccoli aka gai-lan or kai-lan. Taste Kale is a bitter green, this can be countered with a splash of vinegar. When added to soup or stew, usually near the end so it doesn't cook to mush, kale actually adds a lovely savory-sweetness. Kale = Super Food. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse. Special Diets. Kale is gluten-free, paleo approved, South Beach diet approved (Phase 1), Weight Watchers friendly and Whole30 approved. (Naturally, specific preparations matter to each of these eating regimens.) Sources. Personal experience and accumulated learning.

Specific Kale Varieties
"Curly Kale" could also be called "salad bar kale" because it's often used as ruffly filler in salad bars – just for looks, not eating! But don't worry, it's not only edible, it's good eating. This is the most widely available kale variety, also the least expensive. It keeps for a week or more in the fridge.
"Lacinato Kale" ia also called black cabbage, Tuscan Kale, Tuscan Cabbage, Cavolo Nero and Dinosaur Kale. I have the darnest time not incorrectly calling it "lacinto" kale. Its long, elegant leaves and nubbly texture is so pretty, I some times put lacinato kale in a vase on the kitchen table! Lacinato kale is quite tender, it needs less cooking than curly kale. It's also more perishable and should be cooked within a couple of days.
"Red Russian Kale" or "Red Winter Kale" has beautiful purple stems with silver-green leaves. Truth be told? I don't know that I've ever cooked this kale! Must fix that!


Cauliflower Rice with Ginger Vinaigrette ♥

Cauliflower Rice with Ginger Vinaigrette, just grated cauliflower with a bright ginger dressing ~ Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Whole30, Vegan, Weight Watchers PointsPlus 1 ~ AVeggieVenture.com
graphic button small size size 10 Once again, cauliflower turns into something amazing, this time not quite cauliflower and not quite rice – maybe more like couscous? It's easy to make and to my taste, totally addictive.

Weight Watchers Friendly, just 1 PointsPlus. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Paleo. Whole 30 Compliant. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". And Totally Tasty. (There should be a program for that, too!) graphic button small size size 10

Three grants, count 'em. Granted, Cauliflower Rice doesn't look like much. Granted, Cauliflower Rice is no more than grated cauliflower tossed in a surprising ginger-y vinaigrette. Granted, Cauliflower Rice got so-so attention on Easter Sunday. (In its defense on this last grant, there was tons of competition!)

But by Monday, when we played afternoon-hooky and headed to the country for a little late-winter/early-spring hiking? On the trip back at dark, Cauliflower Rice was all I could think of. We could've stopped for fried chicken at our Mondays-only fried-chicken dive. We like a BBQ place on the way back too. There's even an unlikely new Thai place that we hear is quite good, the only business (albeit in a private home) on the entire length of a long, lonely country road. But me? All I wanted was Cauliflower Rice.

Asparagus Scallion Salad ♥ Recipe

Asparagus Scallion Salad | gently poached for substantial, dreamy spring salad | low carb, vegetarian, high protein, Weight Watchers PointsPlus 2 | A Veggie Venture
graphic button small size size 10 Asparagus and scallions gently poached together, then drizzled with a simple vinaigrette and tossed with hard-cooked egg. (Who else has leftover cooked eggs from Easter?!) Dreamy good plus low carb and low cal. For Weight Watchers, this substantial (lunch anyone?) salad adds up to only PointsPlus 2. graphic button small size size 10

~updated & republished 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~

How many children have gagged over boiled asparagus? What were we thinking, leeching all color and flavor from the earthy spears, leaving a mushy gushy slimy mess? Ish, no wonder.

So please, stick with me here, I really truly want to sell you on this little salad which I completely adore. These asparagus are not boiled – nosiree, they are poached. What's the difference? Marketing, people, vegetable marketing.

WORD DANCERS And one more thing. The asparagus are poached with – no turning up your nose, please! – scallions. Yes, other people call those little gems green onions, but me, I'm sticking to scallions if only for the linguistic loveliness of the sibilant alliteration of asparagus scallion salad.

Am I losing you? Then let me pull out a little asparagus capital. There are dozens of asparagus recipes on A Veggie Venture and this little salad makes the Top Five. Still don't believe me? Then believe Heidi from 101 Cookbooks who paired asparagus, green onion and farro in this gorgeous vegetarian supper.

Spring sunshine in a spoon. That's what this is.

Creamed Eggs with Spinach ♥ Recipe

Creamed Eggs with Spinach | Low-carb, high-protein, Weight Watchers PointsPlus 5 | AVeggieVenture.com
Today's easy-easy eggs-with-spinach recipe: A great way to use up leftover Easter eggs, hard-cooked eggs in a cheesy sauce, served over quick-cooked spinach. Beautiful color, hearty enough for supper. Low carb, high protein and for Weight Watchers, just PointsPlus 5.

~recipe & photo updated 2015~
~ republished for a little after-Easter cooking inspiration 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~

BACK IN 2009: Okay, so we tried, we really did. My friend Mary and I spent four hours on Sunday making what we hoped would be beautiful Easter eggs using natural dyes like turmeric and onion skins. Harumph. What did we get? Three dozen outright ugly amateurish-looking Easter eggs. And what else? Three dozen leftover hard-cooked eggs, many already cracked, needing to be used up. Anyone here share this pain?!!

But whoa, was I ever happy with the first recipe, something created out of "air" but definitely to be repeated. There's just something magical about the combination of astringent spinach and creamy eggs.

GETTING RID OF LEFTOVER EASTER EGGS If you too have a surfeit of hard-boiled pre-cooked Easter eggs, I've added a collection of cooked egg recipes to this list of Easy Egg Recipes. The recipes are from my own sites but also from other food bloggers, great classic recipes for eggs.

FOR THE CRAFTY SORTS Mary is an artist and her hand-painted Easter eggs are just beautiful, painted on paper mache eggs from Hobby Lobby. For photos, see Easter Eggs on Flickr.

EASTER RECIPES Easter is a big deal for cooks! See all the Easter recipes ideas on Kitchen Parade, my food column, including my favorite recipe for Hot Cross Buns which are traditionally made on Good Friday, Choereg, the traditional Armenian Easter bread, and an Asparagus Custard Tart which I remade last week and loved once again! It uses a commercial pie crust so no pastry skills required.

Perfect Hard-Boiled Ruby Eggs ♥ Easter Recipe!

Ruby Eggs, just Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs soaked in beet juice for lovely Easter color.
graphic button small size size 10 Just in time for making Easter eggs: How to cook perfect hard-boiled eggs, then dye the eggs in beet juice or pickled beet juice to create stunning ruby-colored "whites" with sunny-yellow centers. graphic button small size size 10

~recipe update & republished for a little Easter cooking inspiration 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~

Oh so Easter-basket pretty! And yet ever so simple, just hard-boiled eggs soaked overnight in beet juice. Don't worry, soaking transfers beet color, not beet flavor.

Cooking eggs should be simple! Instead, hard-boiled eggs may "look" simple but they can be tricky to cook. The eggs can turn out too soft (undercooked) or too hard and crumbly (overcooked) or ringed with green (cooked improperly) or impossible to peel (probably too fresh). For each problem, someone supplies a list of tricks aka solutions. No more.

I clipped this "perfect hard-boiled eggs every time" recipe so long ago there's no memory of its source. But this technique (a recipe for hard-cooked eggs? I suppose it's that!) creates perfect hard-boil eggs. Every time. With both fresh eggs (which are said to be still trickier) and older eggs. The trick is to live by the clock for precision timing is the key. Get out your timer!

Finnish Rosolli Salad ♥ Traditional at Christmas (and Now Easter?)

Finnish Rosolli Salad,  a rainbow of grated beet, carrot and potato traditional at Christmas in Finland but somehow perfect for Easter, too. #LowCarb #Paleo #GF #Whole30 For Weight Watchers, #PP3. #AVeggieVenture
graphic button small size size 10 Today's beet salad recipe: The traditional Christmas salad in Finland called Rosolli Salad, a rainbow of grated beet, carrot and potato, served here in layers almost like a Scandinavian Seven-Layer Salad. Rosolli Salad is great for parties, especially since it not only may but should be made up to a whole day ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld. Low-Carb and Gluten-Free. With homemade mayonnaise, Paleo and Whole30. graphic button small size size 10

Um. So yes. A Finnish Rosolli Salad is traditional at Christmas, not Easter. In fact, last Christmas, we served Rosolli Salad in small, individual serving cups to start a traditional Finnish Christmas meal. Gorgeous!

But y'know what? To my taste, the taste and colors of beets and carrots are just so spring-y! So Easter it is, Easter and Christmas, that is, for I will make Rosolli Salad again and again.

Finnish Rosolli Salad,  a rainbow of grated beet, carrot and potato traditional at Christmas in Finland but somehow perfect for Easter, too. #LowCarb #Paleo #GF #Whole30 For Weight Watchers, #PP3. #AVeggieVenture
There are many, many, m-a-n-y variations of Rosolli Salad even if a trio of root vegetables (that's beet, carrot and potato) are the near-always constants. A large batch does take considerable time to prepare. Nothing is hard, nothing is tricky, it just takes time. The good news?! Rosolli Salad is better made in advance, up to a whole day ahead of time.

I don't remember eating or even seeing Rosolli Salad when I lived in Finland as a student (nor on any subsequent trips, even one after Christmas) but am so glad to know it now. I do adore this salad, I hope you do too!